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important rent information

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important rent information

We are writing to every tenant with important information about your rent payments.

From Monday, 6 April 2020 all believe housing tenants will see a small increase in their rent payments. This is the first rent increase in five years, following four years of rent reduction, and the increase is in line with government policy.

The increase is restricted to 1% plus inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index, a standard formula used for calculations of inflation. The total increase in rent payments will be 2.7%.

Since 2015 rents for believe housing tenants have actually been cut. Even after the increase in April rent payments will actually be lower than they were in 2015.

As an example, a customer paying £83.91 per week in 2015 will have seen their rent fall to £80.61 by 2019. From Monday, April 6 2020 that payment would be £82.79. Over 12 months the total paid in rent under this example would still be £58.24 less than it was in 2015.

Executive Director of Investment, Growth and Performance at believe housing, Alan Smith, said: “Rent levels for affordable homes are fixed by central government policy. Most providers of affordable homes throughout the country will be making the same changes in April.

“Even though we continue to make savings as a result of bringing three landlords together to form believe housing, some essential costs like property maintenance have inevitably risen since 2015 as a result of inflation. This small rent increase will help us to ensure that we can continue to provide great services to our customers and invest in the communities we serve.”

Letters with full details of rent payments after Monday, April 6 2020 were sent customers during February.

universal credit information 

If you currently receive Universal Credit you’ll need to log into your online journal to update your housing costs. The earliest you can do this on Monday, 6 April, once your rent change has taken place, so please don’t try to make any updates before then.

housing benefit information (not Universal Credit claimants)

If you receive Housing Benefit your current application will automatically be reassessed and you will be notified of your new entitlement. However, you must still inform Durham County Council of any changes in your circumstances.

direct debit information

If you pay by Direct Debit your payments will automatically be re-calculated and notification will be sent to you

Help and advice on the changes, and all other rent and money related matters, is available by calling 0300 1311 999 our by using our online form.

We are changing the way we work

From Monday, 24 February we will be making some changes that will help the services we deliver to be more flexible than ever.

We’ve invested in new technology that will help believe housing’s staff work from wherever they need to be in our communities. This will help us to be more responsive to the needs of customers.

That means, rather than coming to us, we’ll come to you. Simply get in touch by phone, email or on our customer app, and we’ll make an appointment to come to you.

With our new more flexible ways of working, we won’t need as much office space. We looked carefully at where our homes are and which locations offered the best fit for the new ways we’ll be working. That’s why we’ve upgraded our offices in Bishop Auckland and Seaham. We’ve also taken the decision to close our old offices at Meridian Court in Peterlee together with Thomas House and Lumley House in Meadowfield.

The smaller number of offices, and removing unnecessary travelling back to and between offices, will save money and reduce our carbon emissions. That allows us to help the environment and ensure that more of our resources are directly targeted at helping our customers.

Chief Executive of believe housing, Bill Fullen, said: “The number of customers choosing to come into our offices has been falling for a long time as more and more people choose other methods to get in touch, like our customer app. So we’ve taken the decision to shape our services to better suit the world we live in.

“Our people will be in your community more than ever under these new ways of working. We’re making full use of technology that means we have less need for offices full of desks and can focus on what’s important; the services we deliver.

“So if you want to talk to us about anything from paying your rent to finding a new job, get in touch and we’ll come to you”

Smartphone users can download the believe housing app by visiting the App Store or Google Play and searching for believe housing.

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